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Straw-necked Ibis
Threskiornis spinicollis

Pelecaniformes Order – Threskiornithidae Family

Length : 59-76 cm 

LONGEVITY: Up to 15 years

Straw-necked Ibis has black wings and upperparts. Its black plumage shows glossy blue-green sheen, and iridescent purple-bronze feathers. Tail is white.
Underparts are white, as undertail coverts. Underwings are black.
Neck is white, from nape to upper back, and joining upper breast. We can see straw-like feathers at base of neck and on upper breast. These stiff feathers are pale buff.
Head is entirely bare and black. Chin is black too, forming a pointed bib on upper neck. 
Long, down curved bill is black. Eyes are dark brown. Upper legs are pink to red. Lower legs and webbed feet are blackish.
Both sexes are similar. Female is smaller than male, and as shorter bill. She shows dark breast-band.

Breeding season occurs from August to December, usually after heavy rains. They breed in large colonies with other Ibis species, such as Australian White Ibis.
Nest is situated in seasonally flooded areas, which provide to this species important food resources. Nest is built in low bushes, or well hidden in reed beds. Both adults build the nest, and usually, male collects nest materials, and female builds the nest. Interior is sometimes lined with leaves.
The nest is made with sticks, reeds and rushes that form a large trampled platform over water. Several nests can blend together, forming one long platform. These nests are reused year after year.
Female lays 2 to 5 dull white eggs. Incubation lasts about 24 to 25 days, by both parents. When they take their turns, these birds perform deep bows to each other. Parents also bow to their young before to feed them.
Young are fed by both adults, and fledge about 35 days after hatching. They still are fed for two weeks more after leaving the nest.
This species may produce two broods in succession.

Straw-necked Ibis feeds on aquatic invertebrates, insects, molluscs and also frogs. On land, it can take lizards, small snakes, and small mammals such as mice. It also eats large insects such as grasshoppers, crickets, locusts, caterpillars, beetles and their larvae. It can follow insect swarms.
Straw-necked Ibis uses its long, curved bill for probing in soft mud in shallow water, but also under plants and roots, searching for crustaceans, snails and worms.

Straw-necked Ibis is common and widespread in suitable habitat, but this species is threatened by destruction of freshwater breeding habitat, and increasing of salinity.
However, it may have benefited from irrigation in dry areas.     

Fr: Ibis d’Australie
All : Stachelibis
Esp :  Ibis Tornasol
Ital :  Ibis collospinoso
Nd : Strohalsibis
Russe : Ибис Австралийский

Photographs by Patrick Ingremeau
His website : TAMANDUA

Text by Nicole Bouglouan


HANDBOOK OF THE BIRDS OF THE WORLD vol 1 by Josep del Hoyo-Andrew Elliot-Jordi Sargatal - Lynx Edicions - ISBN: 8487334105

BIRDS OF ASIA AND AUSTRALIA  by David AldertonSouthwater - ISBN : 184215978X

Avibase (Lepage Denis)

Birds in backyards (Birds Australia and Australian Museum)


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Summary Cards


Juvenile is duller in colour. Its bill is less curved and shorter than adults. It lacks the stiff, buff feathers on lower neck. Head is slightly feathered with black and white down.
It reaches its sexual maturity at two years.

Straw-necked Ibis utters raucous, rolling calls when in flight. At nest, we can hear grunts, croaks and some barks. These sounds can be heard at great distance. This species is rather silent away from the nest-site. 

Straw-necked Ibis is found in both wet and dry grasslands, at the edges of freshwater marshes, in cultivated areas, pastures, and shallow wetlands. Usually, this bird avoids arid areas and saltwater wetlands such as coastal mudflats. It may be found in urban parks and road sides.

Straw-necked Ibis lives in Australia, and it is more abundant on the east coast. It is also found in Norfolk Island, in Lord Howe Island, in Indonesia and New Guinea.

Straw-necked Ibis feeds in shallow water, searching for aquatic invertebrates by probing or taking preys from the surface. It also feeds on the ground, eating large insects which are considered as pest by farmers. So, Straw-necked Ibis is also named Farmer’s Friend, because it destroys numerous pests of farm crops. It spends most of its time feeding. Its large legs and webbed feet help it for moving into marshy areas.
This species is highly nomadic, always moving, searching for more suitable habitat.
This bird is often seen perched on high bare branch, typical silhouette in the Australian landscapes. It is gregarious, breeding in large colonies.

Straw-necked Ibis flies with stretched neck and head. It often glides in the air, with its large wings slightly higher than body level. They fly in large flocks in V-formation, at great heights.